Historic racing news

Vatanen back in action
Finnish hero to drive at Race Retro | by Paul Lawrence

The 1981 world rally champion Ari Vatanen will be the major star guest at Race Retro (February 21/22), when he is scheduled to drive on the live action stage.

The 62-year-old will be at the Stoneleigh Park event for the first time and will appear in two of his favourite rally cars, a Ford Escort Mk2 and a Group B Peugeot 205 T16. He is also scheduled to drive an Opel Manta 400.

“The BDG Escort is music in the forests and the 205 T16 was the most incredible rally car ever made,” Vatanen said. He won five World Rally Championship events in a row in the Peugeot, but was then sidelined for 18 months after being seriously injured when he crashed in Argentina.

As well as driving, Vatanen will be interviewed on the main stage within the halls and is sure to be a popular draw.

Other confirmed guests include David Brabham, while the Richard Burns Foundation will display two Peugeots and two Subarus from the late Englishman’s rallying career. The show is open for three days, including Friday February 20, with the live action running on Saturday and Sunday.

Ferrari drum role at Revival

Rare Ferraris FROM THE 1950s will contest a special one-marque race at the Goodwood Revival, where the Lavant Cup will run exclusively for the firm’s drum-braked sports cars.

Featured models are likely to include the 1949 Le Mans-winning 166MM, the 340MM, 375MM and 750 Monza along with various 250 Testa Rossas. Enzo Ferrari’s cars scooped five World Sportscar Championship titles in the 1950s, and won classic races including Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio. In 2014 the Lavant Cup was run exclusively for Jaguar D-types and it has also previously catered for Ford GT40s.

HSCC honours Lister duo

The Historic Sports Car Club will celebrate the lives of Archie Scott Brown and Brian Lister at Snetterton on June 13/14, during the Autosport Three-Hour meeting.

Plans for the Archie Scott Brown Trophy race for historic sports cars have expanded since Lister’s death in mid-December (see p34). It will now become a wider celebration of Lister cars. The Scott Brown Trophy will be a special 30-minute invitation race for pre-1959 sports racers.

“It seems appropriate to recall the lives of both Archie Scott Brown and Brian Lister at Snetterton,” said Grahame White of the HSCC.

Meanwhile, the Lister-Jaguar continuation car made its public debut at the Autosport Show and the first example has been entered for this season’s Stirling Moss Trophy.

Lister is building 10 cars to the original 1958 ‘Knobbly’ specification, using the late Brian Lister’s drawings and manufacturing jigs. All 10 cars are sold and there are now plans to build three special final editions.

Jordan reunited with Mini

BTCC front-runner Andrew Jordan will return to his racing roots to drive a Mini at the 73rd Goodwood Members’ Meeting on March 21/22.

Jordan will share a 1979-specification Patrick Motorsport-liveried Mini 1275 GT with Nick Swift in the Gerry Marshall Trophy for Group 1 production saloons from 1970 to 1982. Jordan started his racing career in a Mini in Junior Rallycross.

“I get such a buzz out of driving an historic car, with tiny tyres, right on the limit,” Jordan said.

His fellow BTCC champions Robb Gravett and Tim Harvey will also be on the grid, in Triumph Dolomite Sprints.

C2 expansion drive

The promoters of Group C Racing hope to attract enough C2 cars to give the category separate races in future. The first part of the initiative is to offer up to 40 per cent discounts on C2 entry fees, thanks to support from a new sponsor. Initially, C2 cars will continue to race alongside their more powerful C1 counterparts, but series organiser Bob Berridge hopes to expand the C2 entry and make stand-alone races a viable option.

“It’s about encouraging more cars to come out,” said Berridge, who believes the C2 cars offer good value for money.

Impney eyes big entry

Two hundred pre-67 cars will contest the first Chateau Impney Revival hillclimb in July, when motor sport returns to the grounds of the Droitwich hotel after an absence of 48 years.

“I’ve got no concerns about getting 200 cars for the event,” said director Rod Spollon. “We’ll have 19 classes including veteran cars, 500cc F3s, Formula Junior, pre-1960 Grand Prix cars and sports-racing cars.

“I’m trying to encourage my father Guy to compete. We have the Jaguar XK120 that won its class in the first Chateau Impney event in 1957.”

FJ’s worldwide tour

A three-year programme of racing across four continents has been planned to lead up to Formula Junior’s 60th anniversary in 2018.

Starting in early 2016, the historic single-seaters will have a Diamond Jubilee World Series with races in South Africa, Australia/New Zealand, North America and Europe, building to a major celebration at the 2018 Silverstone Classic.

“In Europe we plan to race at every F1 circuit that holds historic events,” said Duncan Rabagliati of the Formula Junior Historic Racing Association.

Formula Junior started in 1958 and ran for six seasons before Formula 3 replaced it. It remains the most popular category in historic racing, with more than 300 cars in regular use.

* Iconic cars from the late 1980s, including Ford Sierra Cosworths and BMW M3s, will be able to contest the Irish Tarmac Historic Rally Championship after Motorsport Ireland adopted the latest FIA cut-off dates. The FIA has decided to allow cars from period J2, up to the end of 1990, to compete in the FIA European Historic Rally Championship next season.

* The HSCC’s Martini Trophy will undergo a major development for 2015, with the inclusion of a wider range of eligible cars and a new name of WEC Revival. The hour-long races will be opened up to pre-1980 Sports Racing GT and Touring Cars of a type that would have competed in the World Endurance Championship or other international competition in period.

* The second edition of the Royal Automobile Club 1000-mile trial will run from July 13-18, starting and finishing at Woodcote Park in Surrey. This year’s route includes overnight halts in Newbury, Coventry, Chester, Droitwich and Goodwood.